German Chancellor Angela Merkel at ceremony in Berlin.
ODD ANDERSEN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images
  • Germany held a farewell parade for outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday.
  • Merkel requested a 1974 punk-rock song for the federal military band to cover.
  • Merkel has served as chancellor since 2005. Her successor is her finance minister, Olaf Scholz.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za

Germany put on a parade for departing Chancellor Angela Merkel, and she picked a punk-rock song for the military band to cover.

Merkel announced in 2018 that she wouldn't run for reelection this year, heralding an end to her 16 years in office. Her finance minister, Olaf Scholz, is set to take her place on next Wednesday, Germany's parliament said on Thursday.

A farewell ceremony known as Großer Zapfenstreich, the country's highest military ceremony, was held in her honour in Berlin on Thursday.

As is customary for honours parades, Merkel chose three songs for the band of the Bundeswehr, Germany's armed forces, to cover, Deutsche Welle reported.

One of those, which clashed with the grand setting and stoic nature of the ceremony, was "Du hast den Farbfilm vergessen" ("You forgot the colour film"), a 1974 punk-rock anthem by the East German artist Nina Hagen.

Watch the performance here:

Merkel grew up in East Germany. She became Germany's first chancellor with East German heritage when she was elected in 2005.

"The song was a highlight of my youth, which as everyone knows took place in the GDR," Merkel told a press conference on Thursday, referring to the official acronym for socialist East Germany after the end of World War II.

"The song came from the GDR and as it happens, it also takes place in a region that was in my former constituency. And so it all fits together."

The other two songs chosen by Merkel were a melancholy pop song called "Für mich, soll's rote Rosen regnen" ("It should rain red roses for me"), by the German singer Hildegard Knef, and the 18th-century hymn "Großer Gott, wir loben dich" ("Holy God, we praise thy name").

Merkel's successor, Scholz, was also at the ceremony.

"Now it is up to the next government to find answers to the challenges that lie ahead and shape our future," Merkel said, during her speech.

"For that I wish you, dear Olaf Scholz and the government you will lead, all the best and a lucky hand and much success."

Scholz's party, the Social Democrats, won the most votes in September's general election.

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